A/N: Pic to the side is Chris Hemsworth, Thor, of course. And the song is Skinny Love by Birdy  which I think fits quite well :) Enjoy and have a wonderful day/night, love, abbiemca x

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Chapter Twenty One - Falling to Pieces

Ava's View

It turned out that Loki's punishment from Odin over our treasure hunt wasn't actually as bad as we'd all expected. He just got his pudding rationed at dinner, which was laughable by my standards, but this is Loki. He's pretty full-on over his pudding.

But what was really worrying was the punishment he'd received after trying to take over Earth. I always knew it had been horrible, especially since I'd seen the scars on his back but... I had never thought it was as graphic and disgusting as what Loki and shown me.

To see him in such pain made me feel ill. I couldn't stand seeing him like that. And to think that at that moment in time the only thing that kept him holding onto his sanity was... me.

He'd thought of me, he'd thought of losing me, of me forgetting about him. And the thought of me still being there for him once this was over was the thing he clung to throughout his ordeal.

And that was painful in itself.

It was mid-afternoon, and Loki was off with Thor somewhere. I had no idea where Sondra was. Will was working. I had nobody to annoy.

There was always Sif...but it's only fun annoying her when I have an audience. I shrugged and carried on wandering around the palace interior. It was all very fancy and golden and I was frankly terrified of breaking anything; I seemed to do that often.

I carried on walking through corridors covered in blood red carpets, not going to anyplace in particular, when a hand grabbed my shoulder. I spun around immediately and I instinctively threw up my right hand and made it glow purple. Then I lowered my hand and the faint glow faded away. It was only Tom.

"Hello Ava, on your own today?" He asked, with a smile. I shrugged. He looked the same as he always did, tall, thin with messy black hair. He wore normal-ish clothes; a black and grey tunic with little plates of armour, a lot less extravagant than Thor. I noticed a small bulge in his pocket, where of course, his glasses would be.

"I suppose so," I said, smiling back at him.

"I haven't seen you since you returned from Midgard. How was it?" He asked, and we began walking to nowhere certain. At the mention of Earth, my mind swam with unpleasant memories of Sylvie, Titan and my father.

"I've had better times," I said dryly, with a harsh laugh. Tom gave a weak smile and questioned it no further. We walked in idle chatter until we came to a balcony at the far end of the palace. It looked out over the town and the Bifrost could be seen too. People were bustling in and out of each other, walking up to stalls, little children where running around playing chase. I smiled to myself as I leaned over the marble wall, squinting to see if I could recognise anybody. I could have sworn I could see a pair of men arm wrestling, one blonde and one dark... But maybe it was just my imagination.

"Ava?" Tom's voice said from behind me. I turned away from the view of Asgard and faced him. He stared nervously at the floor and then it took him several moments to actually look me in the eye. I raised an eyebrow at him.

"Yes?" I asked, completely confused as to why he was being so... awkward?

"I need to tell you something. Is that okay?" He asked, now fiddling with his hands. I looked at him blankly.

"Of course it is. What type of a question is that?" I asked with a laugh. He could tell me whatever he wanted to, after everything that's been going on recently, nothing would actually surprise me. Tom took a deep breath and moved towards me, making the gap between us significantly smaller.

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